Round of 32 at Cologne and Antwerp begin with close affairs

THE ATP 250 Rounds of 32 began at the European Open in Antwerp, Belgium and the second straight tournament in Cologne, Germany, with plenty of action across the two competitions.

At Cologne, just one of the two seeds heads through to the Round of 16, with ninth seed Marin Cilic unable to maintain control against American Steve Johnson, going down 7-6 6-4, while eighth seed Frenchman Adrian Mannarino downed Australian lucky loser Alexei Popyrin in 61 minutes. The first battle between Cilic and Johnson saw a battle of the service game, with both players registering 12 and 11 aces respectively and were highly effective saving break points. The close affair saw neither player really dominate the stats sheet, but on court it was a different story with the second set seeing Johnson maintain control and lock Cilic out of a chance of tiebreaker. Mannarino had an easier time of Popyrin, dominating service and return game efficiency, while proceedings went much the same for qualifier Egor Gerasimov in his 6-1 6-0 obliteration of wildcard Daniel Altmaier, downing the German in 61 minutes with a huge second serve commanding much of the game, winning 79 per cent of points to Altmaier’s respective 11 per cent.

Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic was the only player taken to three sets across the two tournaments, with Sumit Nagal unwilling to relinquish control in the 4-6 7-6 6-1 battle. Meanwhile, Australian Jordan Thompson joined compatriot Popyrin on the sidelines after being overcome by Frenchman Gilles Simon, and top-ranked Brit Kyle Edmund could not compete with Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.


Steve Johnson (USA) defeated [9] Marin Cilic (CRO) 7-6 6-4
[8] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) defeated [LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-2 6-2
[Q] Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated [WC] Daniel Altmaeir (GER) 6-1 6-0
Miomir Kecmanovic (SER) defeated [LL] Sumit Nagal (IND) 4-6 7-6 6-1
Yoshihito Nishioka [JPN] defeated Kyle Edmund (GBR) 6-4 6-0
Gilles Simon (FRA) defeated Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-3 7-5

At Antwerp, just three matches went ahead with an upset victory from Frances Tiafoe over Dusan Lajovic the biggest of the day. This was Tiafoe’s first hard-court tournament since the US Open, defeating the sixth seed Serbian in straight sets, 6-3 7-6 in an hour and 21 minutes. While Lajovic contested hard, with the second set tiebreaker a testament to his never-say-die attitude, Tiafoe crucially won 81 per cent of points off his first serve and was more efficient on return, too, winning 36 per cent return points compared to Lajovic’s 26 per cent.

The other two games were not quite as close, with both Ugo Humbert and Feliciano Lopez reigning supreme, with the latter registering a 6-3 6-2 victory in 61-minutes over Tiafoe’s compatriot, Tommy Paul and dominating off his own serve winning 89 per cent of his first serve points and slamming home 13 aces to two double faults. Meanwhile, Humbert downed wildcard Belgian Kimmer Coppejans, 6-4 6-3 and while both players were efficient winning points off their first serve, Coppejans won just two of 26 return points off Humbert’s first serve making for a tough battle.


Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated [W] Kimmer Coppejans (BEL) 6-4 6-3
Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated [6] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-3 7-6
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) defeated Tommy Paul (USA) 6-3 6-2

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